Saturday Night Live Transcripts

  Season 4: Episode 17

78q: Milton Berle / Ornette Coleman

September Song

.....Milton Berle

[Soft piano music and riotous applause are heard. FADE IN on Mr. Television under the skylight at home base, on a stool in front of a grand piano.]

Milton Berle: [singing] "Oh, it's a long, long while, From May to December..."

[Audience members can be heard giggling softly in the background.]

"But the days grow short, When you reach September. The autumn weather Turns the leaves to flame, But one hasn't got time For the waiting gaa-a-aame. Oh, the days whittle down To a precious few, September... November..."

[The music softly crescendoes to a dramatic pause.]

"And these few precious days, I spend with you, These precious days, I spend with you."

MIlton Berle: [speaking] And these are precious days, ladies and gentlemen.

[His pianist blends smoothly into the chorus of "There's No Business like Show Business." Berle acknowledges him and smiles wistfully.]

As my accompanist, Buddy Freed, is playing the immortal strains of "No Business like Show Business," may I say on this Saturday night that, every time I hear that Irving Berlin immortal composition, "Showbiz," it does something to me. I dunno, especially the words, it... [wiggles his hand around] ...puts goose pimples all over me. Because, I guess... I see all these young performers here, great ones, and I think of myself when I was their age. And... I... Show business has been my life, I've known nothing else--at the age of eleven, I made my eighth comeback.

[hushed laughter]

Y'know, I don't get too much of a chance to come East, to do the shows, television shows, 'cause most of the industry's on the Coast, but I did a lot of TV work this past year. I fixed three sets yesterday...

But in my television career, ladies and gentlemen, while I'm on the subject--going through over two thousand live hour shows--some of them were dead--but even with all the shows that I've done, you gotta believe me, there's nothing more thrilling than coming out and doing just one performance, in front of a live, electric, in-person audience, and to do the show live. When I asked them... uh, pardon me -- when they BEGGED me...

[laughter] be on the show, I was thrilled. Y'know, I... To be able to ad lib, and throw caution to the winds, on a live show, and if something wrong happens, you can't do anything about it--and that, y'know, could happen. I love, I love this. You know, I wrote a book, I wrote a book, of... my life's story. And I, uh... it's very, it's going great, it's in its twelfth printing. The first eleven were blurred...

[hushed laughter]

But in my book, I talk about my trials and tribulations in show business when I was a kid, and I see this young boy sitting down here... [gestures to audience] ...must be about fifteen, sixteen. And I traveled with my mother. Now, trust me, I'm not one to preach "Mom-ism," I don't dig it, but I had some kind of a mother. She was great, she was a stage mother, she was one--and we went all over, I played towns you never heard of. Places like, ehh... "Longdrawers, Missouri." Small towns--I played one town that was so small, the local hooker was a virgin. [laughter] The head of the Mafia was a Filipino. [guffaws]

I'd like to quote something, if I may, at this "Saturday Night Live" show, that's in my book, and I think it fits this situation appropriately. I say in the book, "I love the taste of cold cream, I love the scent and the aroma of makeup, I like lights, I like people. I like to hear people LAUGH... I like to try to MAKE 'em laugh. You know..... the reason that I'm--I sang "September Song," I cannot tell a lie, I had a birthday this last July, I finally hit the big number. Thanks to all of you, I was seventy, ladies and gentlemen, thanks to all of you.

[cheers and applause]

Well.. What? No. I don't feel seventy. I feel like, I feel like a twenty-year-old. But there's never one around.

Ah, boy. Sex after seventy is terrific. Especially the one in the winter.


At this show tonight, and I'm indeed honored to be here, I'd like to thank some of you--most of you--possibly all of you, even watching the show... [gestures to camera] ...for the big help you gave me in my early days of my television career when I was on the "Texaco." I was going pretty good for the first seven or eight years, until they put somebody opposite me... You guessed it: His Excellency Bishop Fulton Sheen. Because he did better than I did, 'cause, let's face it, he had much better writers.


He had Matthew, Luke, Mark... In fact, while I was on the "Texaco," Bishop Sheen and I had the same sponsor: Sky Chief. So I do... I do wanna tell you this, and I really mean it, ladies and gentlemen. If I could continue to get audiences like you've been here tonight, I just want to say that you've given me the incentive, the incentive to never stop entertaining, and I really mean that. And I'd like to say, give me a live audience, like you, for the rest of my career. Thank you, very, very much.

[Wild cheers and applause erupt as Mr. Television stands up straight and sets his microphone smoothly on his stool. The spotlight comes on as he motions for the audience to rise. CUT to a shot from his right as people come to their feet in a standing ovation which spreads gradually up to the balcony. Berle shakes hands with one or two in the front row and basks in the ovation. He blows a single kiss to the audience and takes two deep bows. FADE OUT.]

Submitted by: Sean

SNL Transcripts